SAN ANTONIO -- It's one of the last the places you would think thieves would target: A church.
Sadly, one local Baptist church did fall victim to a crime and the thieves took something that plays a key role in every Sunday service.
Iris Woodard-James, the pastor of Prince of Peace Baptist Church on the east side, says that the 25-member worship center has remained relatively quiet these past few years. The last time the church was the target of a crime was in 1999.
"We wound up getting writing on our doors about blacks, and they tagged the whole door, the wall, the back walls," James recalled. "They tore up every window in this building. They came here and wrecked the place up. The air conditioning was pulled out. They did a really bad job of us."
Thursday night would break that silence.
"When I came in, the chairs had been turned over. I said, 'They must have been getting out of here pretty fast!'" James said.
Thieves made off with $3,000 worth of sound equipment.
"The microphones are gone and the amps are gone, and the thing they call a 'mixer' came up gone," James noted.
Neighbors tell us that, since they can remember, they've heard beautiful music coming from inside the walls of Prince of Peace Baptist Church.
In fact, once word got out about the break-in, people walked in to drop off checks for donations, and a local company even stopped by and offered to reroof the church for free.
"All they had to do was ask me. Just come up and say, 'Pastor James, can we have so and such thing?' If it was the church's, well, I'd have to think about it. But if it was mine, I'd say, 'You can have it. Go on and take it,'" James said.
Pastor James is considering an alarm system, but the church is low on funds. Plumbing, roofing and fixing a leak in the building are among the top priorities for James at the moment.
She says that, in the meantime, better doors and burglar bars might be the answer to protect parishioners and their property.
"It's been a big struggle. I'm still struggling. I'm struggling to do what the Lord wants me to do," James said. "Whatever he wants me to do, I'll still do it."
If you'd like to donate to help the church rebuild, you can call Pastor James at 210-902-0836 or 210-267-1946. You can also contact church member, Debra Patterson, at 830-557-9718.
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